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Real-life examples from Workplace Manager

These examples are taken from a variety of clients and illustrate various aspects of outputs, data collection and analysis. You can use the controls to start and stop the slides and jump between them.

Average desk occupancy

This shows average occupancy over the working day of a group of desks. Other charts show peaks and averages over the working week.

Red + Pink shows productive use of the desks, Amber shows desks neither being used nor available for someone else to use and Green shows available desks.

The aim is generally to provide the right number of desks to maximise those in use, reduce the number of vacant desks to that necessary to cope with peak demand and eliminate desks claimed but not being used.

Similar charts can be generated for meeting rooms, cafes and breakout spaces, quiet zones, reception areas and any other places where people may gather or work.

Workplace Audit control panel

The online control panel is used to set up an audit, to monitor it whilst in progress and to undertake analysis, produce charts and download results for further processing.

Setting up involves mapping individual workplaces onto a hierarch comprising areas (e.g. country), locations (e.g. towns), buildings, sections of buildings (e.g. wings and/or floors), zones and workplaces. Zones can be areas occupied by a team and workplaces can be desks, tables, soft seating and so on.

Separately the organisation hierarchy and job types can be mapped, allowing for example analysis by department or role.

Audits can be monitored in real-time via the control panel and results are interim results are available while the audit is in progress.

Where do you currently work?

Asking people where they currently work is a starting point for the next slide - asking people where they would prefer to work in order to be most productive.

The online employee consultation includes extensive opportunities for employees to comment and make suggestions on their working environment, technologies, business processes, working practices, management culture and so on.

It is not unusual in traditionally organised offices for people to complain that the standard open plan office does not provide spaces for confidential discussions, quiet working, informal collaboration or team working. Also a combination of inadequate technology, culture and policies often prevent people working at home as much as they would like.

Where would you work most productively?

Following on from the previous slide, employees are asked where they would prefer to work in order to be most productive.

Answers clearly vary between organisations and individuals, but the following conclusions are not uncommon:

  • A general desk in the office remains popular as the default location for work
  • Working at home for typically 1-2 days per week is an attractive option for many people
  • Informal meeting spaces such as cafes, non-bookable booths, etc. are attractive as long as the technology works in these spaces
  • Similarly spaces for confidential discussions are valued
  • Bookable formal meeting rooms are needed less, especially for smaller and less formal meetings.

Tablet or smartphone app for data collection

The Workplace Audit "app" runs on any Apple or Android tablet or smartphone. For ease of reading and portability we normally recommend a small (7 inch) tablet and, on grounds of cost, use Android tablets when we undertake audits directly.

The app is set up simply by browsing to the Workplace Audit website and entering a password for the organisation to be audited. All the necessary data is downloaded onto the device, which can then operate offline, synchronising frequently to the cloud.

The audit assistants are guided on patrols where they measure the status of each workplace and what the user, if present, is doing. Over a two week period we normally recommend around 150 samples are captured from each workplace, providing statistically significant data for filtering and analysis.

Measuring personal and team storage

The Workplace Audit app also collects office storage data:

  • Storage associated with each desk includes pedestals, paper piled on the desk, paper piled on the floor, workpalce shelving, filing cabinet drawers, etc.
  • Storage associated with each zone includes cupboards of different heights and widths, filing cabinet drawers, plan chests, open shelving, archive boxes piled on the floor and personal lockers.

All this takes place without inspecting the actual contents of the storage. As a follow-on exercise, storage can be examined and categorised as:

  • Retain in the office
  • Send to archive
  • Scan and destroy
  • Destroy.

Filtering Workplace Audit results

All occupancy, utilisation and storage results, charts and downloads can be analysed by location, building, organisation, job type and workplace type.

Popular examples include:

  • A table listing the number of desks in each department, average and peak occupancies and recommended number of desks if Smart Working were adopted.
  • A "dossier" for each department comprising occupancy and utilisation charts, employee consultation results and manager interview summaries
  • Comparisons of the the performance of individual buildings.

All data can be downloaded to Excel for more specialist analysis.

Meeting room optimisation

The Workplace Audit includes, as part of the patrols undertaken by the audit assistants, measurement of the occupancy of meeting rooms, including the numbers of people in the rooms. Set up includes the capacity of each room and it is not unusual to find:

  • According to the booking system, rooms are close to being fully-booked
  • In reality measurement shows this is not the case
  • Large capacity rooms are often being used for small meetings.

The chart here is a histogram showing the average number of people in occupied rooms. In this case (which is not exceptional) 80% of meetings have fewer than 4 attendees and over 50% just 1 or 2. The average room capacity in this organisation was 8 so two conclusions were reached:

  1. The rooms were too big
  2. Meetings of up to 4 people should take place in small, non-bookable rooms or booths.

Desk activities

Audit Assistants not only measure occupancy but they also observe and record what the occupant is actually doing.

In most offices the most common activity is working actively with a computer, often followed by talking with colleagues, either at adjacent desks or indeed around the same desk.

It is not uncommon to find paper still being used extensively, even in organisations where the core processes are paper-free.  Fixed phone usage appears to be in decline in most places and there is often a strong argument for taking out the expensive phone system and relying exclusively on mobiles.

Working at home

There are two important considerations regarding employees working for some of the time at home:

  • Is this something the employee would like to do?
  • Can the job be carried out successfully from home?

The Workplace Audit employee consultation usually includes several questions about working from home, for example is the home suitable? (work area, peace and quiet, reliable internet) and would it benefit the employer?

The answers to the question shown here show a strong appetite for working 1-2 days per week at home and a strong feeling that this would work with the job.

Online employee consultation

The online employee consultation takes place from a dedicated website into which employees log in anonymously.

Typically there are around 30 questions seeking information and views on working environment, technology, processes, working practices, management culture and so on. The questions are asked in different formats in order to keep the user's attention and many include the opportunity for freeform comments.

Senior managers find the results of the employee fascinating and valuable, both in understanding their people and developing strategies for changes in the ways the organisation works.

 All information is presented in good faith and we cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. (c) Copyright HOP Associates 
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